COFES 2018: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us

COFES is that place on the calendar that we set aside to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. This year at COFES 2018, we will explore human-aided design and have an in depth look at the changing relationship between our tools and us. The advent of digital personal computers and the development of software profoundly transformed the way products were designed. The advent of computer-aided design gave engineers an array of powerful new tools. As the Internet evolved, CAD migrated into the cloud. Today, powerful design tools are available globally and have become an integral part of the engineering landscape.

Today, we stand at the dawn of a new era of design – what we refer to as human-aided design. Advances in computer hardware and software are profoundly altering the way in which we interact with technology. Humans are now merging with computers in a way that has never existed previously. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality are radically reshaping the design landscape. Innovations in 3D printing technology and advances in additive manufacturing processes represent a convergence of atoms and bits that promise to usher in the next industrial revolution.

At COFES 2018, we will examine the emergence of human-aided design and discuss the convergence of atoms and bits and the impact it promises to have on the way products are designed and engineered. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exhilarating event.


The domain of COFES is the realm of software for design and engineering.

Our customers are those that create the world around us. They design the roads and bridges, the buildings we live and work in, the things we use and see around us.

The place to impact all of this is at the planning, design, and engineering stage. It’s where the leverage is. Our customers have the leverage to change the world.

The COFES community provides the tools to these people who have that leverage.

We’ve been able to absorb much change in the past. But today, with increased population, increased infrastructure, and increased global interdependencies, we have lost much of our flexibility to absorb such change without hardship. The reasons for this are understandable and to be expected. With our larger population we have less room to maneuver and have significant investments in infrastructure – all a result of unconstrained growth without concern for long-term consequences.

What’s worse, we may be having an impact that is resulting in such change coming more quickly – within a lifetime rather than over generations.

Change will come. And it’s not just whether that we have to adjust to. Changes will be painful to many – deadly to some; others will reap unexpected windfalls. The balance will shift.

What can we do about it? We can choose not to ignore it. We can think about longer term implications of our decisions and have longer term horizons for our planning. 

We provide the tools to the people who have the leverage to implement change. We can help them  innovate better. 

At COFES, we ask “What can we do to make our customers more effective innovators?”

It’s not just about sharing best practices -- the bigger question is "How can we innovate in the development of better practices?”

Let's meet face-to-face and discuss these critical issues. We're all in this together.